Julia was born in Jackson, MS, and was largely raised in Greenville, SC, Charlotte, NC, and Orlando, FL. Her father was a Southern Baptist Minister of Music and her mother was an elementary school teacher. Julia graduated from Florida State University and from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. After graduating from seminary, she moved to Washington, DC to work with the hunger advocacy organization, Bread for the World. This is where she first became acquainted with and befriended IFFP’s own treasured past Director of Religious Education, Ellen Jennings.
On a blind date in Takoma Park, she met her husband, Randy Gibson who was working in international development in Southeast Asia. In 1992, Julia and Randy married at River Road Unitarian Church and had identical twin girls, Lauren and Jeanne. Shortly after, they moved to Normal, IL where Randy received a Peace Corps Fellows graduate degree and Julia was dually ordained with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. In 1996, they moved back to Takoma Park where they have been residing since.
Shortly after they returned from IL, Julia was trained at Georgetown University Hospital doing Clinical Pastoral Care. While working there, she met IFFP’s wonderful rabbi, Rabbi Harold White, who assisted her in how to minister to Jewish women who had miscarriages. In 1998, Julia was called by one of IFFP’s founding mother’s, Mary Joel Holin, and asked if she would be interested in being the first Director of the IFFP Sunday School. Enthralled, Julia accepted and worked with the community for over 5 years. Julia helped design the Sunday School curriculum, started the first women’s retreat, assisted in the creation of the Coming of Age Program, and started the Gatherings (services).
After leaving IFFP in December 2003, Julia was hired as the chaplain of Springvale Terrace, an independent and assisted living facility. She also was hired by her own church, Christ Congregational Church to be the Director of Older Adults Programming. As of March 1, 2006, Julia returned to IFFP as Spiritual Director and Community Leader. Julia receives her spiritual nourishment not only from her church but from her mindfulness community, Stillwater Mindfulness Center, located in Silver Spring. She also practices Marshall Rosenberg’s non-violent communication skills, anasura yoga, and takes long walks with her dog, Coal.